Friends Of Gilgal Still Need A Little More To Complete Sale
Salt Lake Tribune 29Apr00 A4
By Rebecca Walsh: Salt Lake Tribune

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH -- Salt Lake's Gilgal Garden is on its way to becoming a city park. The group of preservationists trying to save the property now only needs to raise an additional $75,000 to seal the deal. Unfortunately, the group has about one month left until the scheduled transfer date, June 10th.

"We're so close now," said Julia Robertson from Friends of Gilgal. "We can't let that happen. But we have to have the purchase amount before we can talk about anything else." The Friends need $25,000 to complete the purchase of the garden and an additional $50,000 for one-time restoration and repairs of the sculptures in the garden and the property. Without the money, the deal could crumble and the unique sculpture garden destroyed.

The garden is the creation of LDS bishop Thomas Child, a stonemason and sculptor Maurice Brooks, who filled the garden with an eclectic group of sculptures and stoneworks, many of which reflect LDS themes. When Child died in 1963, the garden was purchased by Henry Fetzer, who's children are now trying to sell the garden because the liability and maintenance have become too much for the family.

The Friends of Gilgal started three years ago, persuading the Fetzer family to not sell the garden to a Canadian real estate company that wanted to build condominiums. Persuading the San Francisco-based Trust for Public Lands to intervene and buy an option on the property, they then started raising the money needed to make the purchase. The LDS Church pledged $100,000, as did the Eccles Foundation. Salt Lake County then pledged $400,000, nearly completing the purchase price.

Even the Fetzer family has decided that it is important to preserve the garden, "This has been going on for quite a while," Brian Fetzer said. "But I want it preserved. This is a treasure."

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